Johnny Depp is in negotiations to star in “From Hell,” a Jack the Ripper tale that Albert and Allen Hughes are directing at 20th Century Fox.
Pic is an adaptation by scripter and novelist Rafael Yglesias from the graphic novel by Allan Moore and Eddie Campbell.
Depp and the Hughes Brothers have been on each others’ dance cards before. They previously planned to make a Howard Hughes biopic together.
Fox officials — most of whom were in Las Vegas for their presentation at ShoWest — couldn’t be reached for comment late Thursday. Depp is repped by UTA.
— Paul F. Duke
Stations to start singing new tunes
A slew of format changes are about to rock the radio biz.
Once the dust settles, many of the 72 stations divested by Clear Channel (with more to come) are expected to reflect the missions of their respective new owners.
For example, Los Angeles’ KACD/KBCD (Channel 103.1) will probably drop its Adult Album Alternative format by summer, now that Spanish lingo broadcaster Entravision has picked up the station.
KACD/KBCD will go to a contemporary Spanish hit-radio format, the latest in a string of local English-language stations that have swapped languages. KACD/KBCD staffers, many of whom programmed KSCA’s AAA format until that station went Spanish in 1997, noted the irony.
“We built this station on the KSCA blueprint, and it looks like we took it one step too far,” program manager Keith Cunningham said.
Cunningham and music director Nicole Sandler said Clear Channel may attempt to relocate the AAA format on one of its remaining properties.
Meanwhile, Orange County’s KEZY-AM and KXMX-FM are expected to flip to more religious-based programming, per new parent Salem Broadcasting.
KXMX (Mix 95.9) had just celebrated its first appearance ever in the Los Angeles Arbitron ratings when Salem, the nation’s largest Christian-based programmer, scooped up the station.
— Michael Schneider
Wildmon rails against NBC’s ‘Devil’
It just wouldn’t be a real boycott without the Rev. Donald Wildmon on board.
You may remember the cultural critic from past crusades such as the anti- “Brooklyn South” movement, the ongoing campaign against Howard Stern’s syndicated show, and of course, the infamous anti- “NYPD Blue” maneuvers.
NBC’s animated “God, the Devil and Bob,” which bowed Thursday night, has now earned the wrath of Wildmon. Sources say Wildmon’s American Family Association is behind the decision by two Mississippi affiliates — WLBT Jackson and WDAM Hattiesburg — to preempt the series.
Altogether, nine NBC affils have refused to air the show in its normal Tuesday 8:30 p.m. timeslot. In some markets, NBC has given the show to rival stations.
NBC Entertainment prexy Garth Ancier, who was at Fox when protests against “Married with Children” boosted that show’s fortunes, said the controversy shouldn’t hurt “God’s” chances.
“I think the promotion probably on balance helped us a little bit,” Ancier said. “I think they did a good job of doing a moral and ethical show that reflects well on God and religion.”
Execs from the AFA, WLBT and WDAM were not available for comment.
— Michael Schneider